By Nicole Chim
That conversation you had with mum about how she and grandma both live alone and are very used to going about their own business, do you remember that?
‘Don’t you feel a bit lonely sometimes?’ you asked.
‘Nah’ she swiftly responded, ‘I’ve got so much to do I can be working all day. And look at Grandma, she’s by the pool at 6am, weaving threads at her sewing machine and clinking teacups with her granny buddies, I suggest you schedule an appointment if you want to see her.’
Do you remember wondering how people get used to, and even get good at being alone? You tried convincing yourself you can do it too, and you will do it. But how does that happen? Aren’t human beings built to be social animals? Then it gets more complicated at times, with vocabulary like ‘extroverted’, ‘introverted’ and a new one – ‘ambivert’, don’t we live in a world saturated with labels but none we find ourselves fitting into?
Do you remember wondering how people get used to, and even get good at being alone?
So for the past three-hundred and sixty six days, what did you do to take better care of yourself? Did you finally take the leap to go solo travelling? Was it hauntingly empty or were you too occupied admiring Portugal’s architectural beauty, fully immersed in its fascinating culture? Are you reading more this year – titles outside of your course, books you’ve always heard of but ‘don’t have fifteen minutes’ to flick through before bed? The Five People You Meet in Heaven or Sapiens, did you turn the pages? Also, is your guitar case still as dusty or did you finally learn to do more on the instrument than just strumming? Are you now able to play your favourite tunes by plucking the melody instead of just playing the bass chords? And if there is a New Year’s Eve party across the street tonight but you prefer staying in, is your inner voice beating yourself up less for not being more active?
By the time you read this, I hope you are closer to coming to terms with the fact that the fear of missing out is a waste of time and energy. You can feel terrible at the fanciest party and feel wonderful at home alone; it’s not where you are, it’s how you feel. It may take a couple of spontaneous cartwheels amongst the warm breeze and blooming florals for you to realise there is so much to be grateful for, and it may take a few lazy lie-downs on a bed of daisies for you to realise not every down low is a dark mess. Maybe from Spring onwards, you, as an individual, will feel energised, motivated and inspired by your surroundings again.
it’s not where you are, it’s how you feel
You have grown so much in the past year and I am proud of every miniscule step you’ve taken. I’m sure 2020 was great and that’s because of you.
Image: Book Catalog via Flickr and Creative Commons